Friday, January 29, 2010

Why Doesn't the Washington Post Write REAL Stories about Student Lending?

I've been surprised by the lack of stories about the student lending crisis in the Washington Post. The most recent one was downright appalling, and I'm being reserved in describing it as such. Last Sunday they wrote about a young woman who went to GWU. She has been unable to find a job, and she comes from a highly successful and competitive family. Even though it's too bad her brother judges her for being out of work, the story implies two problematic things:

1) most young people, like Ms. Meyer, may not be employed and living at home, but that's really not a big deal. After all, she gets to go to yoga and takes regular hikes with her boyfriend
2) her parents paid for her schooling, which is rare.

Why doesn't the Post actually publish more accurate pieces about people who don't have the luxury of returning home? What about the ones who are drowning in debt? (A 1/3 of college students take out student loans to finance their education. Moreover, Tim Ranzetta over at Student Lending Analytics recently stated that 2/3 of graduating seniors in 2008 . . . incurred debt." Ranzetta is a painstaking number cruncher and always provides invaluable statistical analysis about the student lending industry.

I've also noticed that the University of Phoenix is always advertised in the Post. I imagine that's what is keeping that newspaper afloat, along with Kaplan. Hmmm . . . so is that maybe the reason for the poor coverage of the student lending crisis? (Just to be clear - Kaplan and WP are the same company; Kaplan profits are keeping WP afloat. Also, here's a disturbing tidbit on they way Kaplan hires entry-level admissions advisors).

All them folks on the Hill who make decisions about our lives read the Post. As their sipping their morning coffee in their D.C. offices, they can enjoy fluff pieces like the one about Ms. Meyer. They can think to themselves, "well, the recession isn't hurting this young graduate, so things can't be all that bad . . ."

Author: C Cryn Johannsen

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